Understanding the Difference Between Mercy and Grace

by | Oct 26, 2018 | Faith

Mercy and grace are concepts discussed at great length in the Bible and amongst Christians. They are often used interchangeably, but is there a difference between the two? When Jesus died on the Cross, God gave us the ultimate show of mercy as we do not have to suffer any death for our sins because of Him. Even though we sin, God bestows mercy on us. Grace is a slightly different story, as it is God’s constant and continual favor towards us. Mercy and grace are often considered the different sides of the same coin. Find out why. Click To Tweet

Mercy and Grace: 2 Sides of the Same Coin

Titus 2:11-12 reads, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”


Mercy is the kindness and compassion shown to one who offends, while grace is an abiding presence of God in our souls which lifts us up. Grace will eventually be complete when you are in heaven, whereas mercy ends in the moment of death, when you face God’s judgment and justice. Mercy is only extending to you in this life to bring you into His sanctifying grace.

  • Example of Mercy: The Israelites turned their backs on God and worshipped false idols, but when they finally returned to Him, crying for help, God showed compassion and forgiveness (mercy). He didn’t destroy them but provided and cared for them.


There’s nothing you can do to be saved from God’s wrath. You can’t earn it or do enough to achieve it. If you acknowledge that you are a sinner, believe in Christ and truly repent and turn from your sins, you can receive this free gift of grace (salvation) too. 

  • Example of Grace: The undeserved favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. God shows grace by providing a way (Jesus) in order for you to stand blameless before Him and therefore be freed from the judgment and punishment to come.

The Difference

In essence, grace is getting what you don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is most needed in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness. In a world of earning and merit, judgment dictates what you deserve. That is why everyone wants and needs both mercy and grace.

Grace — With Conditions

Grace is freely offered and is Christ’s gift to bestow, but over and over again in the Bible He teaches the conditions that he expects His followers to abide by in order to receive Grace. You must forgive others, turn away from sin and live with faith.

Come learn more about grace this Sunday at our church services in Oak Ridge North.

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